Proposed Healthy Homes standards out

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Landlords are one step closer to knowing the minimum standards their rental properties will have to meet with the release of the Government’s proposals for them.

By Miriam Bell

Housing Minister Phil Twyford announced the release today of a consultation paper that outlines the proposed standards that are intended to make rental properties warmer and drier.

The proposed standards will set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties.

To that end, the consultation paper examines issues, and suggests options, in each category.

Among the proposals are whether landlords should be required to provide heating in their properties and, if so, what type of heating and where.

Another set of proposals look at what an appropriate level of insulation is and how the condition of the insulation should be assessed.

There are also proposals around ensuring adequate air flow, better moisture regulation and what measures landlords should take to stop draughts.

Twyford says the Government is committed to improving the quality of rental properties so that families living in rental properties are happier and healthier.

Rental homes are more likely to be older and of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes, he says.

“Improving heating, insulation, ventilation, drainage, and controlling moisture and draughts will go a long way to improving the quality of rental homes.

“These measures can also improve the energy efficiency of homes, and reduce the costs to maintain and keep them warm and dry, benefitting both tenants and landlords.

The arrival of the Healthy Homes standards have been much anticipated.

That’s because they were announced when the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act became law last December but, until now, no-one has had any concrete idea of what they might entail.

NZ Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew Kings says the NZPIF supports rental property standards but they need to be achieved in a cost-effective manner.

“Because many people will see owners paying the upfront costs of these standards, there will be a tendency for tenant advocates to want them to be gold standard.

“However, the standards need to be cost effective as tenants will ultimately bear the cost of any changes.”

As an example, he says that new insulation requirements from 2001 are less than 10% more efficient than previous standards.

“Yet the cost to top up rentals insulated before 2001 would cost nearly as much as installing completely new insulation.”

Tywford says they want to hear from landlords, tenants and any other interested New Zealanders about the proposals over the public consultation period, which runs until Monday 22 October.

Along with the proposals relating to heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught, they are also seeking feedback on the phasing of when landlords must comply with the standards.

The consultation paper can be read here and more information about the proposals and the consultation process can be found here

The regulations containing the Healthy Homes standards must be in place by 1 July 2019.

Read more:

Healthy Homes now law 

Healthy Homes in everyone’s interest – APIA 

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